Barron’s Mastering Spanish Grammar
March 10, 2013
Author Margarita Görrissen
Series Barron’s Mastering Grammar Series
Publisher Barron’s Educational Series
Publication Date 2007
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate
Barron’s Mastering Spanish Grammar by Margarita Görrissen is okay, but its value lies primarily in its utility as a reference book, not as a workbook.
The exercise design just isn’t all that great. Although the explanations are thorough, the ratio of explanation to exercise is too high. There aren’t enough exercises in Mastering Spanish Grammar, and the ones that are there are not consistently interesting.
For example, over two pages containing four exercises, one is told to complete the following tasks:
- Number some sentences from 1 to 9 to create a dialogue.
- Pick words off a 16-word list and use them to fill in the blanks in a series of sentences.
- In another series of sentences, circle the correct verb forms in various verb pairs given.
- In a short narrative, fill in blanks with the correct conjugations of infinitives provided.
All the exercises in Barron’s Mastering Spanish Grammar are short. Some can be finished in well under a minute, resulting in a scattered, unrelaxing, choppy learning experience with little pleasure, mental engagement, or commitment. I was at one point happy to find an English-to-Spanish translation exercise that I thought would be more stimulating, but there were only five questions, and the book didn’t even provide enough room for me to write the answers, which was annoying.
There are some proofreading errors in the answer key.
Again, the value of Mastering Spanish Grammar lies more in the explanations of grammatical points than in the exercises.